MM: Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Angel Martinez. Thank you for joining us today.So tell me, how long have you been writing?
Angel: Thanks for having me, Michael! Since Dimetrodon roamed the Earth. OK, maybe not quite that long. I’ve been writing as long as I could write, but I’ve always been a storyteller. I started writing for publication in, oh, about 2000 or so. Once you finish that first novel, sit back, and say, “huh, I did it,” the disease is well within your veins and you have to start the next one.
MM: What is your favorite subgenre to write?
Angel: I’m an unabashed SF and Fantasy fan, so this translates into my writing. Give me room to stretch my reality wings. I live in reality; I don’t particularly want to write about it.
MM: Is there one that you haven’t tried that you see yourself doing in the future?
Angel: I’d like, perhaps, to do ancient history. Something pre-Medieval would be fun. I’ve even toyed with the idea of Paleolithic. Solving pre-techno age problems adds an extra dimension to research and world building.
MM: I’m of the opinion that erotica doesn’t have to be real all the time to make a good story, what are your thoughts?
Angel: That’s an odd question to ask a Fantasy writer. Very little I write could be classified as “real.” However, I do think that erotica needs to be believable. When I have characters with, shall we say, alternate anatomy, I still have to stick to my own rules regarding that anatomy. If the character is human, without special, er, features, I do think it’s important to keep in mind the limits of the human body. Certain human parts are delicate and terrible damage would be done with some of the things I read in erotic stories. I find that a bit of a distraction. Now, do romance characters tend to have better stamina, better control, and better recovery time? Sure. But at least that’s not bending the rules of physiology.
MM: Who are the authors that you look up to?
Angel: Oh, goodness. I love so many authors. I have a deep love of Oscar Wilde, of Roald Dahl, Jonathan Stroud and Eoin Colfer. C. S. Lewis still has pride of place on my bookshelves. I become rabid every time a new Lois McMaster Bujold comes out, and I have loved Ursula LeGuin and C. J Cherryh for nearly as long as I could read. I admire Josh Lanyon enormously and find L. E. Bryce’s writing transportive and astounding.
MM: Tell me about your latest book, Boots?
Angel: Boots was written on something of a dare. I wanted to write a modern M/M version of a classic fairytale and asked a few folks what they thought a challenging story would be. Puss in Boots came up early on and seemed one of the least possible to transmute into a gay romance. I do like a challenge. Boots is the story of a young man who, upon his father’s death, inherits only the family cat. Of course, this is no ordinary cat, as he himself will tell you.
MM: I have found as an author that it’s been hard to switch from the m/m back to m/f then back to m/m again. How have you been successful by doing this?
Angel: *ahem* I don’t. I write M/M. The M/F novels I write under a different name are non-erotic and therefore don’t cause any confusion, though I do have important gay characters in my mainstream books, as well. The very few erotic shorts stories I wrote for M/F pairs usually involved some sort of power exchange or gender bending.
MM: Oops, just outed you there. *laughs* What are you working on now?
Angel: Right this second? Your questions. No, seriously, I have a couple of WIP’s, one with a June 1 deadline (eek!) That one will be released as part of an Amber Pax collection, “The French Connection.” It takes place in the Cathedral of Amiens, still under construction, in 1288. I also have a longer SF piece I hope to finish this summer titled Gravitational Attraction which involves a mysterious young man found on alone on a troop transport where every other living soul has been slaughtered.
MM: When creating your characters, do you have models in mind or are they totally fictional?
Angel: Oh, I’m sure pieces of people creep in from my subconscious. You can’t create in a vacuum, after all. But for the most part, my characters are people who live in my head, Frankenstein monster creations who are a little of this and a little of that. I don’t use pictures to build them and I don’t base them off people I know.
MM: What are your feelings on gay male writers who discriminate against females because they feel we cannot write an accurate story due to our gender?
Angel: I don’t think it’s the writers as much as some readers and reviewers. Most writers understand that a good storyteller is a good storyteller. Are there some female writers out there who shouldn’t be writing gay fiction? Yes. The ones who do it for the money, because it’s the new, “hot thing,” and who don’t bother to pay attention to the dynamics and the differences, these are the stories that sour readers’ palates.
MM As a fellow fem in the genre, what is your stance on the difference between male and female gay writers?
Angel: Standing up to pee? It’s difficult to generalize. With good writers, I suppose one could say there are differences in approach, that women tend to focus on the romance more, but this isn’t always the case. I think it’s as dangerous to generalize on gender as it would be on the basis of heritage or economic status.
MM As an M/M writer, do you feel that the trend is changing where it is becoming more mainstream?
Angel: Slowly, very slowly. Gay fiction, for both men and women, has come a long way since the days of not speaking its name, but go into your local big box bookstore and look for the GLBT fiction section. Good luck with that. That being said, the old stores are behind the times and the sheer volume and variety of GLBT literature available online now is astounding.
MM Recently, a writer sabotaged her career by answering a bad review on a blog. How would you have handled this and do you think authors should answer their reviews?
Angel: Writers do this frequently and I always cringe. I think authors need to keep in mind that they’re professionals. Bad reviews need to be approached in a professional manner. These are your readers. They plunked down money for your book. You have no right to badmouth or bully them simply because you don’t agree with them. I’ve told my readers that their opinion is one of the few things no one can take from them and I do thank people who take the time to write reviews. It takes time and effort, and I’m grateful for that consideration.
MM: Do you think it’s time for publishers to begin calling gay fiction/erotica what it is instead of m/m? Why or why not?
Angel: M/M is convenient shorthand. I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. When you buy erotica, you want to know the content. The “slash” indicators, M/M, M/F, M/M/F, M/F/F/M/were-gerbil, are an easy way for the publisher to indicate what groupings the story contains. But you will notice publishers using both these days. (Amber lists Gay or Lesbian stories and has the M/M, F/F shorthand in the sidebar, as well.)
MM: I read a blog about M/M writer’s losing their imagination because they are writing the same subjects repeatedly, what are your thoughts? http//www.reviewsbyjessewave.com/?p=42883
Angel: I read that blog and I can’t say I disagree in the main. What’s happened, though, is not that GLBT writers have lost their imaginations, but that suddenly the market is glutted. It’s that “hot thing” issue I mentioned earlier where people jump on the hay wagon without any real passion for the stories they’re telling. There are an awful lot of cookie cutter stories out there right now – I even saw one recently where an author lifted whole passages out of another writer’s work to use in her own. Shameful.
MM What is it about M/M that pleasures you to write it?
Angel: Three words – I. Like. Men.
MM: What advice can you give to writers like myself who are new to publishing?
Angel: Be methodical and do your research. That applies not only to your writing but also to the submission process. So: 1. Don’t get your first draft down and think you’re finished. You’re not even halfway there. Make certain you have critique partners who know what they’re doing. Someone who only says they love your work and can’t offer constructive critique and corrections is not helping you. Criticism is tough, but you won’t grow otherwise as a writer. 2. Don’t rush into any contracts. Make sure you know who this company is and how they deal with writers. Get help and get advice before you sign anything.
MM Where can we find you on the web?
Angel: I am everywhere J But the best places to find me are:
MM Thank you for taking the time to spend with us today and continued success on your work.
Angel: Thank you for having me, and thank you for the thought-provoking questions!
Willem’s father never approved of his artistic talents, his choices in life, or the fact that he’s gay. When the only thing Horst leaves to his son is the family cat, Willem thinks it’s his father’s last insult from the grave. That is, until the cat starts talking to him.
Though Willem’s lost his boyfriend, his home, and his job, Kasha, who claims to be a magic cat, reassures him that all will be well. All he needs is Willem’s trust and a good pair of boots. But giving boots to a talking cat has unexpected consequences when odd events ambush Willem at every turn, such as the appearance of a handsome stranger in his arms at night.
While Willem begins to suspect Kasha’s plans might be dangerous for all involved, how can he distrust such a charming kitty in cowboy boots?
...Poor, unhappy boy, what are we to do with you? Kasha sat by the glowing embers, watching Willem sleep. Trouble was, the boy was no boy any longer. He had grown tall and strong, with deliciously long legs and shoulders broad enough to sleep on. The face that had been elfin in childhood had transformed into even-featured angelic beauty, full, soft lips and all.
The kasha had wondered, twenty years ago, why the spirits had directed him to Horst’s household. The man didn’t seem to need help, nor would he have accepted any. His wife had died after the birth of their third son, but he had coped well enough. The boys grew up flawed, but not too much more than other humans. Gunther lacked imagination, content with a small, provincial life. Kurt grew up cool and distant, not an evil man, but insular and self-absorbed. Then there was Willem, the dreamer, the wool-gatherer, though he had seemed settled as a welder, stable and secure.
When Willem’s life had disintegrated around his ears, that’s when the kasha understood. Not for Horst, this little jaunt so far from home, not for the oldest son, as it had been so often in the past, but for the youngest.
He was here to help Willem. As he blinked luminous green eyes at the lovely creature sleeping on the hearth, he realized he might enjoy the task for once.
* * *
Rain fell, regiments of water soldiers drumming double-time on the roof. Willem thought the downpour had woken him until he felt the soft breath against his throat. Oh, damn…
Someone lay in his arms. Had he been drinking again? He didn’t think so, but things were fuzzy. He couldn’t recall where he was until he blinked the fireplace into focus, the flames burned down to embers. He pulled back in confusion and his breath hitched hard.
His arms were wrapped around the most beautiful young man he had ever seen. Thick, black hair tumbled to his shoulders. Almond-shaped emerald eyes gazed out of a heart-shaped face with high cheekbones and a slender, elegant nose. Willem moved his hand along the young man’s back, feeling only the silken slide of naked skin. He must have been drinking, to forget this gorgeous boy.
“Who are you?” he whispered.
“Hush, Willem,” the lovely vision murmured in a throaty baritone. “Go back to sleep.” He leaned in and brushed his lips over Willem’s. “Sleep.”The command seemed reasonable and impossible to disobey, in any case. Willem’s eyelids drooped as if weighted with stones. His last bit of awareness was of the stranger snuggling closer, resting his head on Willem’s shoulder. For some reason, he found it comforting rather than odd. His last waking thought was that Kasha had.